Pakistan invited to conclude free trade agreements with GCC countries to boost trade
Bahrain and Pakistan are set to make determined efforts to boost mutual trade.
Bahrain Minister for Commerce and Industry Zayed Rashid Alzayani, who visited Pakistan last week, said his country is committed to enhance its trade, business and investment relations with Pakistan. He said this while addressing the second Pakistan-Bahrain Business Opportunities Conference (PBBOC) in Islamabad.
Alzayani was welcomed by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who gave him a detailed roadmap for economic cooperation and investment. It included the ongoing construction of several huge projects, which are part of the $56 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
"We are negotiating free trade agreements [FTAs] with the United States and other regional countries for trade openness and to create business opportunities. This is the right time for the promotion of trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Bahrain. The private sector will play an important role in enhancing the trade volume between the two countries," the minister said.
He invited Pakistan to conclude FTAs with GCC countries to boost trade. Sharif and Commerce Minister Khurrum Dastgir, who co-hosted the PBBOC along with Alzayani, supported the plans unveiled by the Bahrain minister.
During the bilateral talks, Bahrain was also invited to join the CPEC.
"The key element of the China, Pakistan, Central Asia zone, which is currently under completion, is [that it is] located just across the Arabian Sea from the UAE, especially Bahrain. Alzayani expressed keen interest in several high-dividend infrastructure and energy projects introduced by Prime Minister Sharif," Dastagir told Khaleej Times.
Sharif and Alzayani also talked at length about the oil, gas and oil pipeline projects which will feed the huge Chinese demand for energy to be provided by Saudi Arabia and UAE. The CPEC corridor, originating from the Pakistani port of Gwadar, will reduce the distance between Saudi Arabia and the UAE to mainland China. It will benefit Chinese consumers with lower oil prices.
Addressing the PBBOC, Dastgir said: "We get excellent support and cooperation from the government and people of Bahrain. Bahrain is now going through economic reforms envisioned by its current leadership. Bahrain has an important geographical location, as it is the gateway to the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries and also provides access to all other countries."
Speaking about Pakistan's business, financial, industrial and energy sectors, he said the conference has been a milestone in reviving trade and investment between Pakistan and Bahrain and will also enhance the confidence level between business communities of the two countries.